Tickets went on sale Tuesday for next year’s Rancho Mirage Speakers Series, which will feature sports legends Wayne Gretzky, Emmitt Smith and Sugar Ray Leonard at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa.
The series begins Jan. 23 with four-time Stanley Cup champion and hockey legend Gretzky, according to a joint statement from the city and the casino. Hockey Night in Canada personality Christine Simpson will moderate the interview.
Tickets for the series ranging from $150 to $475 can be found at rmspeakerseries.com.
Gretzky played for the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers during a 20-year career. He retired in 1999 with 61 NHL records.
“It was an exciting time in my life,” Gretzky said in a statement. “To see hockey grow in Southern California, and to have an AHL team in the desert is exciting.”
The city will partner with the Coachella Valley Firebirds to promote Gretzky’s interview, Mayor Richard Kite said. The first 1,000 people to purchase a series ticket will gain free entrance to the Coachella Valley Firebirds home game against the San Diego Gulls on Jan. 22.
Smith, the former Dallas Cowboys star and Pro Football Hall of Famer who still holds the NFL career rushing record of 18,355 yards, will follow in the speaker series on Feb. 21, nine days after the Super Bowl.
“I have fond memories of the desert, having played in the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament, so it will be nice to return to Rancho Mirage a few days after the Super Bowl,” Smith said.
Sibley Scoles, host of “Raiders: Talk of the Nation,” will moderate Smith’s interview as well as Leonard’s.
The boxing legend and six-time world champion will close out the series on March 21. Leonard helped propel the popularity of boxing in the 1980s through his legendary rivalries with Thomas Hearns, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.
“The Coachella Valley has a rich boxing history with Timothy Bradley, the Diaz brothers, and Lee Espinoza,” Leonard said in a statement. “They have a high boxing IQ, so it should be a fun night talking about my career and the state of boxing.”
For the first time in the event’s history, the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa has partnered with the city to host the speaker series in its venue, according to a joint statement from the city and the casino.
“We have always respected the concept of the series and the impact the events could have on the community with its powerful speakers,” the casino’s Senior Director of Entertainment Monica Reeves said in a statement. “We believe The Show will provide an exceptional venue for the types of conversations and education that will stem from this next series’ unique sports theme.”
For two decades, the speaker series featured big names in entertainment, politics and journalism, before it reinvented itself with renowned sports figures in 2020. The reinvented series has featured pioneering race car driver Danica Patrick and football legend Joe Montana.